Hardcover Ode to Osa Paints Peninsula’s Riches

May 14, 2010

A nearly 10-hour bus ride from San José, the OsaPeninsula is among the farthest-flung jaunts on a traveler’s Costa Rica itinerary, but it’s also one of the most alluring.

That’s because the 430,000-acre Osa, in southwestern Costa Rica, is one of the world’s best displays of lush jungle spilling right onto the Pacific shore, and vice versa, and it possesses about half of Costa Rica’s amazing 500,000 animal and plant species. This feast for the eyes is captured in a new hardcover coffee table book.

“Osa: Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea” binds stunning photography and painstaking research in a 222-page book, one of the latest titles by Costa Rica-based Zona Tropical Publications.

After more than 20 years visiting the region, award winning BBC nature photographer Roy Toft has learned to take his lens right to the jaws of Osa’s wildlife. Author Trond Larson, who has researched the region for more than a decade and established a new science station on the peninsula, provides fascinating science for the volume.

“In terms of natural beauty, it’s arguably the most pristine place in the country,” Zona Tropical owner John McCuen said of the Osa. “It’s pristine, rugged, filled with wildlife.”

The book delves into some of what Larson calls Osa’s “embarrassment of riches”: the largest Central American swath of lowland rain forest on the Pacific and the most expansive mangrove wetlands; the tallest tree, a 77-meter Ceiba; and the most populous flock of scarlet macaws.

Photographic highlights include a close up of a jaguar licking its lips on the prowl, a spider monkey in motion, iguanas, frogs and a shot that leads right into the mouth of a green parrot snake.

The idea for the book came partly thanks to Adrian Forsyth, a renowned scientist who penned the conservationist classic “Tropical Nature,” according to McCuen. Forsyth also wrote the forward for “Osa.”

The book attempts to keep the spirit of conservation of its authors. A portion of the book’s proceeds goes to Friends of the Osa, a nonprofit organization that carries out conservation projects in the region.

The book can be purchased for about $50 at 7th Street Books in San José or online at the photographer’s website, www.toftphoto.com.

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